We all know that G-Suite and its related core applications are a powerful learning tool for students. In fact, I have yet to even come close to filling the grocery list of ideas that these tools can do within my four classroom walls. The personalized activities, collaboration, and project-based learning that students are doing these days in Google are like an endless buffet- there is no end in sight! Why not make this learning visible to parents? Why not share out some of these delicious student recipes and creations with parents? With the help of Google, we can easily flambé the way we connect and engage with parents on a daily basis.
A classroom/homework site is an effective way to communicate important reminders and homework to your parent and student audiences. Google Sites a great way for parents to have a glimpse into the daily school life of their child without feeling like they are nagging or being too intrusive. The fluency of Google even allows you to easily connect other core applications with minimal clicks here so it becomes a great platform to showcase student work or connect valuable resources for parent support. You can even embed a Google Calendar into your site that will keep parents up to date with all the important comings and goings of the classroom- saves time and energy on mundane and boring emails.
This is where the parent communication can really heat up and start simmering. I really encourage educators to create folders for each student that they teach (subfolders under a classroom folder works great) so that you can compile a collection of student work over the year. These folders can be shared with parents just one time and then they will continue to have a sneak peak of their child’s work and learning progression over the remainder of the year. These digital portfolios can be home to a number of tasty things- docs, slides, sites, photos, videos, and more! From my experience, parents love and appreciate the convenience to have their child’s visible learning at their fingertips.
Time to add a dash of flavour! Students frequently collaborate with their peers in a Google Doc to create some powerful work. I encourage parents (from time to time) to be a part of the collaborative process as well. Some students could use a little extra encouragement here and there and what better place to get this from then a loved one? Parents have the capabilities to add some positive reinforcement and garnish to their child’s learning. An inserted comment here and there in a child’s Google Doc can go a long way to tightening the connections between home and school and expanding the community of support and encouragement for a child. We all know that palette feels better with good company!
This publishing platform is where I like to kick up the spice on my classroom menu! Google Slides has the capacity to make the most gourmet advertisements and publications. These five-star designs can then be added to a Google Site as an automated slideshow (switching every 5 seconds or so) or be delivered directly to parents and students through the sharing features of Google. The eye-catching creations can highlight key information that parents should know, or create fun graphics that highlight classroom themes or activities. Class collaborated anthologies add the perfect amount of kick to any classroom website.
Voila! Your parent communication is perfectly cooked, served with a minute to spare, and with chart-topping ratings on YELP.
Certified Google Trainer & Innovator
Middle School Teacher & Technology Support
Saanich School District 63
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